Representation of oneself is imperative in order to form an identity. Building up an identity forms a character and thus, introduces the way one expresses these characteristics. Through the norm of social media, we are heavily intertwined within the technologies that introduce ourselves to the world. We build up an alternative version of ourselves using these tools and share them with people around the world. What happens when a person with a mental illness is introduced to the tools which identify his/her characteristics? Representation in Portraiture will help clarify the misjudgment which forms around the subject of portraiture when photographing a portrait of a person with a mental illness. In this project, a number of people with mental illnesses have been chosen to be interviewed and eventually have their portraits taken as they deem fit within the space they feel will better reflect the identity of their character whilst knowing the circumstances of their own intellect.
Rachel - Depersonalisation Disorder
''On a good day I wake up without sleep paralysis. I wake up feeling well rested. I go out and I don't feel a smidgen of un-realness and I feel that there is no plastic shield that detaches me from reality, so everything is real, everything is grounded and I'm aware of everything. It's when my thoughts are not racing in my mind leaving me stuck without being able to interact. It's when I laugh a lot and feel happy, as in authentically happy! Unlike the dulled out feeling of happiness whilst under the effects of my medication.'
Raisa – Social Anxiety Behaviour
‘’When it’s with the right people, I love to be funny! Joking around with the right people makes me happy. I really like it when friends and family members compare me with my father as he is a very charismatic person. I feel safe when I am working on a creative and personal project. I’m able to express my thoughts without the distractions of the outside world. I’d like to think that I am a very caring person. Although, I can be very blunt at times, I believe that I am kind. Nowadays, I relish being different. It took some time, but I have learned to love being different from others. It makes me, me.’’
Miguela - Anorexia
‘’Waking up in the morning and setting a goal to be productive makes me happy. Staying inside and lazing around feels like I’m wasting time. If I go out and feel productive with my days and if I don’t feel ‘alone’, that would be a good day to me. I feel a sense of pride that I managed to slowly improve my health on my own terms without having to be forced by someone else. I’m more than just the woman who had an eating disorder and was dangerously underweight, I still have these thoughts of not eating at times because of how I feel about my physical self. However, I am more than that. I am kind and I love to help others where I can.’’